HIBT Lab! Too Good To Go: Lucie Basch - Transcripts

March 09, 2023

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Collaboration is the new competition: that was French entrepreneur Lucie Basch’s philosophy when she approached a group of Danish founders who happened to be working on a similar food waste reduction app.  Before long, Lucie and her new co-founders joined forces to create Too Good To Go, an app that enables restaurants and grocery stores to sell leftover items in ‘surprise bags’ at a significantly reduced price. Since launching in 2016, Too Good To Go has raised over $30 million dollars and has expanded to 17 countries, including the U.S. This week on How I Built This Lab, Lucie talks with Guy about her company’s work to leverage the ‘horizontal power’ of consumers to collectively chip away at global food waste. She also discusses the emergence of social enterprises like hers, that fill the gap between charitable and purely profit-driven organizations. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.


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Download the app today. This is Chip Brantley, co-host of the NPR podcast, White Lies. Before we found the man in Vancouver, before we sued the State Department, before we snuck into the graveyard of a federal penitentiary, all we had were the photographs. Photographs of a group of Cuban men standing on the roof of a prison in rural Alabama.

That's this season on the NPR podcast, White Lies. Hello and welcome to How I Built This Lab. I'm Guy Roz. So about 60% of all food waste in the U.S. comes from restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and food service companies. That's according to the nonprofit Feeding America. And so much of that food is really great. Every day, at the end of the day, most bakeries and cafes and restaurants throw away what's left. Some of them donate it if they can, but that's not always easy. So back in 2016, a young French entrepreneur named Lucy Bash joined forces with a group of Danish entrepreneurs to try and repurpose food that would otherwise get tossed. They found it too good to go, and it's a platform that connects restaurants with consumers. So sort of like Airbnb for leftovers.

A customer can log onto the app, order a surprise bag of food from their favorite bakery or cafe, usually for five or six bucks, and then go and pick up whatever's left at the end of the day. Too Good to Go is now in 17 countries, including in cities across the U.S. Lucy came to the idea after working at Nestle in the U.K., and while she was working on

the production lines for chocolate bars and coffee capsules, she noticed a problem. At Nestle, it's all about how can we produce faster and cheaper. And there is nothing around how can we improve the health of our consumers? How can we make it better for the environment? How can we make the food more nutritious? And I remember working on KitKat and working on different types of pet foods or water bottles. And for all of them, it's the same principle. The line needs to run faster. We need to make sure that there is as much as possible many products that we can sell. And therefore, even when we talk about waste, it's not really a problem in itself in terms of it doesn't make sense to waste food. It's more a problem in itself because it costs more money. So really quickly, I end up being at a place where I do projects that make us save tons of money, but often produce more waste because you would make the line run faster.

And therefore, there would be more defects. So more products that would end up being thrown away. The marginal cost of every product is still lower, and therefore everyone is happy, and we celebrate that as a huge success for the factory. And that's where, really, I started to realize that my values and what I was doing every

day, it started to be a disconnect, really. What did you start to think about? I mean, what, you say it was a disconnect, and so where did you start to think about

in terms of what you thought you wanted to do? I think at that time, I had always been sensitive to food waste, but really in the factory, I realized how huge the issue was. You know, we all see food waste in our daily lives, both in like when you go to a restaurant and you see people leaving stuff in their plates, or you go to the supermarkets and you see bins filled with food. But that time I realized that at the industrial level, it was even bigger. And then I started to look into numbers and start to get interested into food waste. And then I realized that today we throw away 40% of the food we produce on the planet. And I don't know, but that number really hit me. And I was like, this is impossible to accept for me. And everyone should know about that number and everyone should have ways to fight against it. And so the whole idea for me was how can you make everyone a waste warrior and how can you make everyone capable of fighting food waste? And that's when the idea of Too Good To Go

started to emerge in my head slowly. Right. So you have this idea in your head of like, is there a way that we could repurpose food from stores or restaurants that can't be sold anymore?

Like what was the idea that you started to have in your head? So I've always been fascinated by what I call the horizontal power, where actually when every one of us, we do our little bits for a common cause, then we can have a huge impact together. And so it was this idea of like, if I make everyone able to save one meal every day, then we can really fight food waste at a huge scale and really make a difference. So the idea was to use an app to enable every one of us to at the end of the day, pick up a meal and make sure that we can eat this food

instead of throwing it away. So let's take a bakery, for example, at the end of the day, a bakery is going to throw away a lot of its products on the shelves and some of it they might sell next day for half price, day old bread or something, and you go to a bakery and you see that. But you wanted to create sort of a systemized way for shops or restaurants

to essentially sell those things in an easier way. Exactly that. So it's how do you make sure that the baker at the end of the day, which is about to throw away some croissants and sandwiches and breads is connected with someone like you and me living in the area that can come and pick up this food. So that's really the way the app works. The baker doesn't really know exactly what they're going to throw away, but they know that every night they have food left when they're about to close. And this food is fresh, right? So you can't sell it the day after, but it's still perfectly good to be eaten because 10 minutes earlier, you were selling it at full price. The idea of Too Good To Go is that instead of throwing this away, you actually put it into some surprise bags that are sold on the app for a third of the price and that one of our consumer will come and pick up. And so as a consumer, you actually select the stores you like. We talked about bakeries, but you can imagine pizza places and bagels and sushis and supermarkets even. And so you pay a small price on the app between four and $6 basically. And then at the closing time, you come, you show your receipt on your phone, and then you get a bag filled with food

for three times the price you paid for market. And you don't know exactly what's in there, but you can guess based on what the store is. I mean, if it's a bagel shop, you know, this can be bagels in there. You got it.

And you were doing this in France? You got it. No, I was actually in Norway at the time. And so when I stopped working at Nestle in the UK, I moved to Scandinavia. And that's when I started to also look for people to do that food waste project with me. So, you know, we often hear that when you have a great ID, you should really protect it and not share it too much because some people could steal it. I was really at the extreme opposite of that. For me, when you have an ID, you better share it and you better talk about it to as many people as possible because that will help you to make that ID more relevant. You will see how people react to your ID. So it will help you actually grow your ID, but also make it closer to reality. At the end of the day, an ID is worth nothing. What matters is the way you make it real.

And so while talking to many people about that ID I had of an app that could connect people and local stores to fight food waste together, I realized that there were some other people working on a similar ID. And those were four Danish guys in Copenhagen that were actually starting the exact same project as I wanted to start. So when I first got a little bit anxious and worried that I had already met some competitors when I was not even started myself, I soon realized that maybe those are my co-founders

and maybe it's something we could actually do together. What happens? Do you reach out to them and say, hey, maybe we should meet up

and talk about what we're doing? Yeah, exactly. I actually went to a conference in Oslo that was called Collaboration is the New Competition and saying that if you really care about something, if you really wanna do a project that you care about, then instead of doing it against each other, you better do it together. And I guess that was enough to convince me that I could actually just do it with those people. And therefore I just found their numbers online and gave them a call. And literally it was pretty funny because at that time they had just started to build a website in Copenhagen to work on that in Denmark but they had gotten some PR in Norway. And therefore one of their friend who was Norwegian was taking the night bus from Copenhagen to Norway

to come and start to see if it could work in Norway way. And by the way, they were doing something slightly different from what I understand. They were working with buffet restaurants

to sell excess food from a buffet at the end of the day. Yeah, exactly. So I think we've all seen those buffet of all you can eat, which at the end of the day, obviously there is still some food left. And so they had thought about the app that would enable you to come and you get a box, a takeaway box that you can fill with whatever is left on the buffet. So that was their idea when of course for me as a French person, I immediately saw about the bakery. And therefore, it was a similar concept of you get a bag or a box filled with food that is leftover

but it was just different type of stores. And what do you say to them when you met them? Like, hey, I have this idea, can I join you? Can we join together?

What was your pitch? Yeah, exactly. I mean, I didn't really have a pitch. I called and I said, hey, I'm working on the same ID. Where are you? How do you work with it? How is it working in Copenhagen? And then like really quickly they asked me like, where are you based? I said, I'm in Oslo. And therefore they were pretty excited because as I said, just the day after one of them was coming to Oslo. So they were like, you know what? Just grab a beer, meet and then we'll see how we can make it work.

And literally, I guess a couple of days later I was in stores pitching half in Norwegian, half in English to try and convince stores to join our concept that at that time we had nothing. I mean, we didn't have a flyer, we didn't have an app, we didn't have anything that was actually working. But we were passionate and I guess

that helped us convince many people. This is in I think February or early 2016 when you joined. And so their concept was all you can eat. And you were saying, well, let's also do bakeries and cafes, you know, individual stores because they also have things that they throw away at the end of the day. And so you literally started to go like to stores or cafes in Oslo, pitching them on this idea saying, hey, if you have excess food,

we can connect you to consumers. Yeah, exactly. So Sophie was the one in the night bus and I met her we grabbed the beer and literally the day after we went pitching together and the pitch was simple, right? It was like, you have food at the end of the day. It makes no sense for you to throw it away. First, because no one likes to throw food away especially when you've put a lot of hard work and money behind it but also because it costs you money to throw food away. So the idea was, let us help you and at the end of the day it will take you no more time than throwing food away. people that will have already paid online will come at the time you want and pick up a big bag filled with the food you have left. So the promise was it won't be harder than throwing food away, but also you will get new customers through your doors and you will get some extra money as well.

So why say it? And what was the first cafe or shop that you signed up in Oslo?

But what kind of store was it? Well, it was actually a bakery store. So it was a guy that owned four bakeries actually. And yeah, he had been throwing away for years really. So the first thing he told me was, you know, it's part of my job to throw away. I have to accept it. I've tried to contact charities for a very long time, but they would never come for that little food. They also can't come in the city center at a peak of traffic. So I just accepted that there is no other solution for me. And it was really about, you know, changing his mindsets around the fact that, yes, there is a solution and we can make it work for you

and we can make it easy. We're gonna take a quick break, but when we come back, more from Lucy Bash about launching and growing too good to go. Stay with us. I'm Guy Roz and you're listening to How I Built This Lab. This episode of How I Built This is sponsored by Instacart. With Instacart, I can easily order my groceries and other weekly essentials. Shoppers help deliver the order right to my door in as fast as an hour, giving me time back to hang out with my family. Instacart helps to deliver items from over 75,000 locations across the country. Get whatever you need now from grocery items, household essentials, electronics, home improvement, alcohol, pet supplies, beauty items, and more. Instacart shoppers provide support while they shop, share real-time updates, and deliver your order with care. Visit instacart.com or download the app to get free delivery on your first order. Offer valid for a limited time.

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Saqqara.com slash built. Welcome back to How I Built This Lab. My guest today is Lucy Bash, the entrepreneur who started a company that connects cafes and restaurants to customers willing to buy leftover food at a reduced price. So let's talk about the sort of the logistics of putting this together. I mean, were the others in Copenhagen,

were they able to build an app, or were you able to do it? So I tried very hard, but I wasn't. It was not really productive what I was coding. And no, actually, yeah, one of the Danish guys were a developer, so he was the one, you know, really just coding the app and fully focused on that. But originally, we just had a website and we started with WordPress, like many companies do, I guess, and then slowly we had an MVP, minimum viable product, which just enabled us to show the app and the concept to the stores we were pitching. And then slowly but surely, we started to have an app that would work better, that was becoming as well more and more automated. But you know, for, I guess, the first two years, the app was always breaking down, our payments module would never work. And literally every time we had big media that we were on TV, that suddenly a lot of people would download the app, everything would crash, the servers, the app. And so I think the first two years, like our average on the app store was two stores. Everyone said like, I tried to download it, it doesn't work. I have no stores around me, this is crap. And like, we literally, we kept on going, but it was tough, right, because when your product

doesn't work perfectly, it's hard to sell it to everyone. And I think in the first two years, it was bootstrapped, right? Like you guys were just, you know, kind of not taking salaries and just,

you were trying to build it without any outside investments. Yeah, exactly. So we didn't have an investment for the first year. So I actually, after a few months, I moved back to France to launch the ID there as well. And I was lucky enough that I just went back to my parents. But you know, I had no, nothing else than work and sleep.

So at least you don't spend a lot of money then. In that first year, I mean, literally signing up stores and, you know, little businesses to join, you'd have to go store by store and talk to the owners. I mean, how did you make that process more efficient?

And, you know, in order to get lots of people to join? Yeah, I got a bike, so I could go faster in the streets. And now it was really door to door. And I had never done that before. So what we made more efficient was, yeah, I have flyers after a while and you could leave your number on it. Then slowly we started to realize that it was more efficient to call first and then try and book a meeting with the owner. Because the biggest issue we had was like, the owner was never in the store. So we could talk to the guy at the cashier, but they wouldn't have the decision power to say yes or no. So for us, it was really important to have the decision maker. And so we moved slowly to phones and sometimes it was working, sometimes it was not. I think one of the great asset we started to quickly have was that we had great brands joining us, both, you know, independent stores that everyone know,

but also like bigger brands.

Which was the first big brand that you signed up? So we had Eric Kaiser, the bakery. And that's like, that's really well known and it's really good quality as well. And for me, it was so important to get those high quality brands because they would lead the way and show to others that it's the new way to do food today.

It's not straight away. And I'm curious, Lucy, when you would go to like Eric Kaiser, for example, was it like an easy pitch? I mean, because it seems like it, you know, you would go in, you would explain the concept and they were like, yeah, I'm good to go. Or were any of them skeptical?

Were any of them like, well, what's enough for you? No, no, of course, a lot of cynicism at the beginning. I mean, first, I think the main worry was like, it's gonna take too much time. I can't be bothered. And anyway, it's not gonna work. So that's why I had to convince them that it would be as simple as throwing food away. And therefore, you know, it was, that's why we use the idea of the surprise bag is that you don't have to like do an inventory of everything you have left. Just say, I have three bags tonight and then just whatever you have left at the end of the day, you just put it in there. So I think that was a huge argument. And then a second big thing was they were worried to feel like they were discounting their products, especially the very high brand.

You know, they would have never done discounting. Yeah, right. If you're like Kaiser, right? And you're selling a croissant for five to $7. And the customer knows that they get her for two at the end of the day, that's a problem, right? And so what was your solution to the problem?

So first, the solution is that they don't sell a croissant for a third of the price they sell a surprise bag. And you never know if you're gonna get croissant or bread. But if you know that you need bread for tonight, then you can't use too good to go, right? Then you would need to actually go to Kaiser

and get that food. But if you didn't care what you were gonna get, as long as you know you knew it was gonna be tasty food, you just get a bag filled with stuff that you don't know what it is, and you're only going to pay five bucks and you might love it or you might

like some of it, but that's just going to get. Yeah I know I love everything in a

bakery better. I don't know. I don't like raisins. If you give me raisins, I feel like I've, I feel like I've lost. There's raisins

I've lost. But I mean you're going to give it to someone who loves raisins. I'm sure you

have some friends who love raisins. I have to build another app to find the want the raisins. Alright. So, you go to these businesses and you convince them that this was gonna be good for them and it was gonna help them sell excess products and they were gonna make some money off of it, but understandably, some of them were worried about devaluing

their brand. The person who wants the raisins. And that's where for me, it was all about showing them, you know, the new way of doing things right is to do them sustainably, and honestly understanding that today we throw away 40% of the food we produce on the planet, that this is responsible for about 10% of greenhouse gases emission, and that still nearly a billion people go to bed hungry every night. It's like, how can you say you do quality food if you don't fight against that? And so for me, it was actually make it part of your brand to take care of your products

until the very end versus say that you're doing discounting products. Yeah. It's almost like ride sharing or home sharing, right? In a sense that essentially you're saying, look, we're a platform. We're going to connect you to consumers. You've got, in the case of Airbnb, an extra room in your house. You can make some money, you know, renting out your room. You're saying to these bakeries, look, you can make money selling your excess products and it's food that would otherwise be wasted, and we will take a fee off of that. But ultimately, you're going to make, you know, marginally more money by doing this.

Exactly. So it's a win-win-win, right? I mean, as the store owner, you stop throwing food away, you get money for it, and you show your products to new customers. As a consumer, you get food for a third of the price, and you do something for fighting food waste. When it's too good to go, we can build a great business model on a solution that really makes

a difference for fighting food waste. And just, I'm just curious, your business model depends obviously on a commission. So it's free for the business to be on the platform.

Essentially, all you guys do is take a commission from the sale. Yeah, exactly. So it's only a success fee, right? So as a consumer, anyone can download the app and start saving a meal. And as a consumer, you'll just pay $5, you'll get $15 worth of food. As a store owner, it's the same. You just go on our website, and on the same day, you can start saving food and be registered on the app. You won't pay anything for that.

And every time you save a meal, we'll take a fixed commission on the meal you've saved. Yeah. All right. So let's say, like, I go to El Toro, Taqueria in San Francisco, right? And I'm like, okay, I see there's a surprise bag. It's $5.99. And I don't know where I'm going to get. I've never been there, but it looks pretty good, actually, the picture. And I pay $5.99 through the app. And then I go there, and I show them my receipt, and I get my bag, and I go home and open it up, and it is where it is. Out of that $5.99, what is your cut? What is it cut for?

Too Good to Go?

So $1.79 goes to Too Good to Go, and everything else goes back to the store. Right. I guess the argument that you would be making to businesses is you're leaving money on the

table if you don't actually do this because you're just throwing it away. Yeah, exactly. I mean, there is no reason to say no once you've understood that the way Too Good to Go works and that you recognize you have food waste every night. Then even if it's very little, right, I mean, just realize that thanks to that, you will stop throwing away food. And honestly, for the people doing that every night, it's definitely great news that you don't have to fill a big trash bag every night. But also, you've just said it, right? You've never been there, but thanks to the app, you might go there, you might discover the food they do, and then the day after, you're hungry for lunch and you loved what you got in your surprise bag the day before, and you're just going back there and paying

full price because now you're aware that this store is selling this kind of food. And the idea is really to work with sort of cafes and restaurants rather than like supermarkets,

for example? No, we want to work with everyone. Where there is food waste, Too Good to Go should be there as well. So of course, it takes more time to roll it out with huge chains, but they are more than welcome to be with us because their impact can be huge.

I mean, in Europe, 50% of the food we save every day comes from grocery partners in supermarkets. And what are they putting in the surprise bags, for example?

Well, many things that come to expiry date. I mean, fruit, vegetable, but also dairy products, also meat and fish, breads as well. Anything really that they have in the store. We actually did a huge work on expiry dates because we realized that people didn't necessarily make the difference between a sell-by and a use-by. And the problem with that is even if you can still eat the product after the sell-by date, people don't really think about it and therefore products are being removed from the shelves, even so they are still good to be eaten and they are still allowed to be sold. But therefore, we did a whole work to sensibilize people, to understand that there are two different dates, but also that the product is still good to be eaten. And therefore, every time that the staff in the supermarkets are removing products from the shelves, instead of putting it in the bin, they actually put it in a too good to go bag, and people can come to the supermarket and collect it as well. For supermarkets, it's great because it's a good way of cross-selling, because if you're

going to pick up your surprise bag, you better do your grocery shopping as well. And so 2019, you're starting to launch, you go to Italy and Portugal and Poland, and you're still mainly in Europe at that time, I believe.

Tell me about how you were able to launch in so many countries. Yeah. We stayed in Europe until mid-2020, where we launched 15 countries in Europe. So it was definitely fast, right? We were launching a country every quarter or every second quarter. And it was always the same mindset as a country will become profitable between 16 and 24 months,

and then you will pay for the next one. Between 16 and 24 months, it becomes profitable. Mm-hmm. Wow. We're going to take another quick break, but when we come back, Lucy shares how too good to go navigated its U.S. launch in the middle of a global pandemic. Stay with us. You're listening to How I Built This Lab. I just learned Discover credit cards do something pretty awesome. At the end of your first year, they automatically double all the cashback you've earned. That's right. Everything you've earned doubled.

All the cashback from eating at your favorite soup dumpling restaurant doubled. All the cashback from that trip where you sort of learned to snowboard also doubled. And the best part, you don't have to do anything ridiculous to get it. Nope. Discover does it automatically. Seriously, though, see terms and check it out for yourself at discover.com slash match. When it comes to banking, startups have been told that protecting their cash must come at the expense of innovation. But that's a myth. Mercury is engineered precisely for the pace and creativity of startups. Get FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts via regulated partner banks, send money seamlessly, proactively manage your cash, and close the books in record time, all with confidence. Visit mercury.com to join more than 100,000 startups that trust Mercury with their finances. Welcome back to How I Built This Lab.

I'm Guy Roz, and I'm talking with Lucy Bash, who saw that food waste is a huge global problem and turned fighting it into a for-profit company. It sounds like as you, you know, went from country to country, it became easier or did it still was it still a hurdle to convincing businesses to join?

No, I think, you know, we really built our credibility years after years and people started to hear about us. People started to believe that it works and that as a store owner, you don't have to throw food away at the end of the day anymore. And our US launch was very rapid as well, even so we launched just after COVID. It was a pretty crazy bet to still go to the US in August 2020 and decided that it was time for it to go to be live there. But we did. And a lot of stores were really happy to see us coming. Some of them had heard about us from Europe. And today, you know, just a couple of years later, we are in 12,000 stores in the US. 12,000 stores? Yeah. So we've already saved more than 4 million meals in the US, but there is so much more we could save.

Yeah. Yeah. You guys raised, I think, more than $30 million in venture capital in 2020. And from what I've read, you were reluctant to do that for a while. So what changed your minds?

Yeah. I mean, you know, for us, it was so important to be fully mission-focused and to stay true to our DNA that we thought VCs and the financial world will maybe force us to change that. Or I don't know, we were not really trusting that it would be possible to have a true financial partner that would respect our vision and our DNA. And then we found some that actually shared our values. The first VC we raised from is called Bliss. It's a B Corp venture capital based between France and the US. And you know, I don't know if you're familiar with the B Corp certification, but it's really about building businesses that are good for society. And the fact that we had a VC that took that certification put us in good trust already. But also when we started to engage with them, we realized that the questions they were asking were different from other VCs. And they were not only interested in our financial KPIs, but also really in the way we were doing business. And for us, it's definitely about doing both, right? It's not only about the way we do business, it's really about the KPIs we hit and our financial targets.

But it's also really about the way we deal with our consumers, the way we deal with our partners, the way we work with our employees, and how good we are with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Those are old, you know, things that we continuously want to improve on and will never be perfect. But it's things that are top of mind and it was important for us that any financial partners

would also care about the way we do that. You know, obviously what you guys were building was a business, a social enterprise, right? With a mission. But it's still a business that had to be sustainable, that had to make money. And so the question is, given your background and your interest in mission-oriented work, why didn't you guys just do it as a nonprofit?

Well, for me, it's that whole thing that businesses need to be with a purpose and a mission for the world. And we truly believe that, you know, when you build, it shouldn't be that either you build a charity to help the world or you build a business to make money. The idea is really to show that social businesses, social impact businesses can do both and should do both. Because if you want to have an impact, you actually need to have a strong business model that can maximize that impact. And you know, really quickly and too good to go, we were able to launch many countries, we were able to raise some funds and therefore launch always more countries. And in seven years, we managed to launch the concept in 17 countries. We saved several hundred millions of meals with the app. We have more than 75 million consumers in the world.

And it's really thanks to our business model that we could actually maximize our impact. That's my question, right? Because I guess, had you been a charity, right? You might still have an impact, of course, charities have a huge impact. I guess the argument could be made that like, you might not be as flexible as you could be as a for-profit business or as efficient as you have to be as a for... Like the stakes are higher, right? When there are investors involved and there's money involved that it forces you to really maximize the efficiency of what you're doing and to, I guess, scale it in a way that maybe you couldn't if you were a charity.

Yeah, indeed. I think businesses, it's a bit of a different pace. It's a bit of a different ambition in a way. And also we spend time saving meals. We don't spend time trying to find... Get donors. Yeah, exactly. Right. So for me, I really wanted to spend times with my consumers and my stores and not spend a lot of time with begging people to finance us. But it's also because I truly believe that we need to rethink companies as great vehicle to change the world. And I think that's what we prove is too good to go, is it's not impact or profit.

You can do both and you should do both. Get donors, right. So as you know, Lucy, there is criticism, of course, there's always going to be criticism anytime you start a business or do something, and that comes with the territory. And I think some of the criticism is perfectly fair and reasonable that businesses like to go too good to go undercut the work of charities, that they're essentially only enabling people who have money to access this food. And it's simply being consumed by people who are already wealthy or already have access to food, when in fact, really the food should be redistributed to people who are hungry or homeless or whatever.

How do you respond when you hear that? Of course, of course. I mean, you know, today charities do an amazing job and we have worked really closely with charity from the start. We are in partnership with many of them locally. Every time we launch a city, we have a charity partner and we work with many food banks across all our countries. But the thing is that today charities can't pick up all the food and they've been alive for many years and we still throw away 40% of the food we produce, many of it coming from our local stores. So for us, it's really about how can we complement the jobs, the work that charities do. We always say to our stores, and especially to grocery stores who work a lot with charity, that it's supposed to give everything you can to the charities, give everything they want to take to them, and then we'll come whatever is left after that. And that's really what Too Good to Go is for, is whatever the charities can't take because they can't come and pick up the food or because they don't have the infrastructure or because the people they feed are not interested by this type of product, then the rest is for Too Good to Go. And also, don't take me wrong, I mean, many people using Too Good to Go need Too Good to Go to feed themselves. It's not because you don't go to the food bank that you have plenty of money and you don't struggle at the end of the month. And for us that's really also the people we address is the people who, you know, are really happy they can multiply their purchasing bar or buy three and that actually we received so many testimony and letters from people who really tank us because many people feed themselves who is too good to go, morning, lunch and dinner.

So for us, it's really about making it accessible to everyone to fight food waste. And presumably the idea is for this to be available everywhere around the world and for any kind of food product that could be wasted to be sold on this platform. Is that the mission?

Yes, for sure. We want to build a global movement for fighting food waste. We want any one of us to be able to do our little bits in the fight against food waste. And you know, today we save three meals every second. Knowing how huge that is and I still remember myself counting the daily meals one by one with my finger on the screen. Today I'm happy we have a great data team to do that. But yeah, we want to save every meal on the planet from every store and from every location. The U.S. is definitely a huge challenge for us because it's a huge country. So we've launched in Canada as well. This market is growing incredibly, incredibly well as well. And you know, later it should be South America, it should be Australia, it should be Asia, Africa.

I mean, all the continents will eventually join the fight against food waste. And then you know, it's really about the whole food chain as well. We just acquired a company called Codabene that helps grocery stores to really do their shelf rotation in a smarter way. And Codabene really tells them if they should discount the product in the store, if they should give it to a charity or if they should save it on Too Good to Go. And that's the idea is how can we really become the food waste partners of all the food partners in the world. And therefore we start to work with industries as well so that all the food I've seen that is being thrown away is not thrown away anymore. It's actually being sent, been shipped in a Too Good to Go parcel directly to consumers

who are fine to get those products as well at a better price.

Are you working with Nestle? We are actually on all the work we do on date labeling to make it easier for consumers to understand and also to sometimes make the expiry dates longer. Nestle was one of the first partners to join our work on date labeling. And now we want to do more with them and really help them to improve the way they handle food and make sure that their bins are totally empty eventually.

I'm sure this has seemed like a long journey, but it's only been around for six years or so.

What does this look like in five years or 10 years from now? Yeah, it's been intense. For me, I'm just so happy when I think about the 100,000s of people that every day go on the Too Good to Go app and then go to their local store and save that food. And yeah, again, saving three meals every second is pretty impressive, but we can do so much more. There is a lot we do as well on public affairs. We've started a school program as well to help teachers talk about food waste to their students because we believe that as young as six years old, you should start hearing about what you can do and start teaching your parents at home as well. So the idea of Too Good to Go, again, is not only about being an app, it's really about generating a movement where people start changing their mindset around food and start really caring about food because we've lost touch a little bit with the way we produce food. And I think it's so important that today we realize that this is so essential, right? We saw it during COVID, but food is the one thing that we can't remove from our lives. And whoever you are, wherever you were born, whatever you do in your days, you're confronted to food every day. So it's so important that we spend time and money on it and that once we have it, we really

take care of it and eat up our plates. That's Lucy Bash, co-founder of Too Good to Go. Lucy, thank you so much. Thank you. Hey, thanks so much for listening to How I Built This Lab. Please do follow us on your podcast app so you always have the latest episode downloaded. If you want to follow us on Twitter, our account is at how I built this and mine is at Guy Roz. And on Instagram, I'm at guy.raz. If you want to contact the team, our email address is hibt at id.wundery.com. This episode was produced by Sam Paulson with editing by John Isabella and research by Lauren Landau Einhorn. Our music was composed by Sam Paulson and Ramtin Arabluhi. Our audio engineer was Neil Rout.

Our production team at How I Built This includes Alex Chung, Casey Herman, Chris Messini, Elaine Coates, J.C. Howard, Liz Metzger, Kerry Thompson, Carla Estevez, and Kira Joaquin. Meeva Grant is our supervising editor, Beth Donovan is our executive producer. I'm Guy Roz and you've been listening to How I Built This. Hey Prime members, you can listen to How I Built This early and ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. Or you can listen early and ad-free with Wondery Plus and Apple Podcasts. If you want to show your support for our show, be sure to get your How I Built This merch and gear at WonderyShop.com.

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